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244          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

the harassing effects of war, of which the following, The Bailiff
of Shihhao, is a good example:

I came to Shihhao village and stayed that eve.

A bailiff came for press-gang in the night.

The old man, hearing this, climbed o'er the wall,

And the old woman saw the bailiff at the door.

Oh, why was the bailiff's voice so terrible,

And why the woman's plaint so soft and low?

"I have three sons all at the Niehch'eng post.

And one just wrote a letter home to say

The other two had in the battle died.

Let those who live live on as best they can,

For those who've died are dead for evermore.

Now in the house there's only grandson left;

For him his mother still remains—without

A decent patticoat to go about.

Although my strength is ebbing weak and low,

I'll go with you, bailiff, in the front to serve.

For I can cook congee for the army, and

To-morrow I'll march and hurry to the Hoyang front."

—So spake the woman, and in the night, the voice
Became so low it broke into a whimper.
And in the morning with the army she went;
Alone she said good-bye to her old man.

That is characteristic of the art of restraint and the feeling of
sadness in Chinese poetry. It gives a picture, expresses a
sentiment, and leaves the rest to the reader's imagination.


The Chinese drama occupies a mean position between
classical literature and that body of literature which is nearer
what the Western people mean by the term, namely, literature
of the imagination. The latter, including the dramas and
novels, was written in the pehkua or vernacular language, and